Ryan Holden, 23, of South Mackay was released on parole after facing Mackay District Court.
Ryan Holden, 23, of South Mackay was released on parole after facing Mackay District Court.

$21,000 in drug profits in 'just one month'

A SOUTH Mackay man, who has been diagnosed with substance dependence issues, has escaped prison after being caught with 359g of cannabis.

Ryan Holden, 23, was a daily user of cannabis, Mackay District Court was told yesterday, sometimes using up to 10g a day.

When he was arrested in May last year, Holden told police he had heavy dependence issued and purchased $4500, or 359g of cannabis for personal use - explaining it would last him around three months.

However, messages on his mobile phone indicated otherwise and showed the young man had made around $21,000 by selling cannabis from April 8 until May 9.

Holden pleaded guilty to trafficking dangerous drugs, possessing dangerous drugs, and possessing anything of use in the commission of a crime - in this case, his mobile phone - and a summary charge of possessing utensils; a glass pipe, and a grinder. He was also found with 20g of hash, clip-seal bags and scales.

Legal Aid Queensland barrister Bronwyn Hartigan told Judge Brian Devereaux that Holden had "cognitive distortions" and thought smoking cannabis would make him liked among his peers.

She said his drug abuse stemmed back to a tumultuous upbringing, including "physical punishment" by his father, as well as bullying at school.

However, frequent drug testing in the period between his original court date in June, 2017, and the hearing yesterday showed he had "fully rehabilitated himself".

Judge Devereaux appeared sceptical at the amount of profit the then 22-year-old made in the space of a month. He detailed some of the trafficking to the court, including small amounts, up to eight ounces at a time for $2100.

"It was quite substantial trafficking but only over a short period, it's one of the unusual features of your case," he said. "In just one month... you obtained a gross profit of about $21,000 from trafficking over just that period..."

Judge Devereaux said features of Holden's life caused him to build up a "resistance against authority figures".

"There is scientific evidence connecting cannabis to mental illness and you're pedalling it," he said.

Judge Devereaux sentenced Holden to two and a half years prison with an immediate parole date. "You are a prisoner, it's just that you are a prisoner in the community ... I'm not sure you are remorseful... you may feel remorse ... and feel sorry for yourself," he said.



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